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Survey Shows Lack of Confidence in Smart Meter Security

17 Apr 2012

A new poll by nCircle found that 61 percent of the 104 energy security professionals that participated in the survey do not believe that smart meter installations have sufficient security controls to protect against false data. The survey was sponsored by nCircle and EnergySec, a Department of Energy-funded public-private partnership designed to enhance the cyber security of the electric infrastructure. The online survey was conducted between March 12 and March 31, 2012.

The analysis of smart meter measurements and power system models that estimate the state of the power grid are a regular part of system monitoring. False data injection attacks exploit the configuration of power grids by introducing arbitrary errors while bypassing existing techniques for bad measurement detection.
EnergySec founder and chief executive officer Patrick Miller says, “Smart meters vary widely in capability and many older meters were not designed to adequately protect against false data injection. It doesn’t help that some communication protocols used by the smart meter infrastructure don’t offer much protection against false data injection either. Together, these facts highlight a much larger potential problem with data integrity across the smart grid infrastructure. Because our nation relies on the smart grid to deliver robust and reliable power, we need to make sure that all systems that process usage data, especially those that make autonomous, self-correcting, self-healing decisions, assure data integrity.”

Elizabeth Ireland, nCircle vice president of marketing adds: “A false data injection attack is an example of technology advancing faster than security controls. This is a problem that has been endemic in the evolution of security and it’s a key reason for the significant cyber security risks we face across many facets of critical infrastructure. Installing technology without sufficient security controls presents serious risks to our power infrastructure and to every power user in the U.S.”

nCircle provides information risk and security performance management solutions. For more information, visit